“Today has shaken me to my core,” Stephen Colbert said at the top of his Late Show monologue Monday night. “And I don’t think I need to point out that, at 54, there’s not a lot of core left.”
“Before we get into whether our president is the Siberian candidate,” the host continued, “I would like to take a moment right now to remind you of something Lincoln said: ‘America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves’ and ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’ They were two of his most famous tweets.”
“So, with that in mind, I’m thinking that maybe in the interest of unity the most patriotic thing we can do right now is not pointing out the alarming behavior of our president, but instead, just shut up and take it until he’s gone,” he suggested. But that’s not what Colbert was about to do.
He began by going over some of the most damning reviews of the summit between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Anderson Cooper called their press conference “perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader certainly that I’ve ever seen” while CNN’s John King referred to it as the “surrender summit” and even Fox News’ Neil Cavuto called it a “disgusting” display.
“Wow, those are the worst reviews I’ve seen since Titanic,” Colbert said. “And I don’t mean the movie.”
“What is it going to take for you to acknowledge that Putin directed his officials to help you get elected?” Colbert asked. “Does he have to come out and say it? Because he did.” After playing the clip of Putin admitting that he wanted Trump to beat Hillary Clinton, the host added, “That is shocking, mostly because I’m not used to a president telling the truth.”
Later, Colbert addressed Chris Wallace’s surprisingly tough interview of Putin that followed the summit, in which the Russian president said he would have had no reason to collect “kompromat” on Trump before he ran for president.
“When I was in Russia—and this is true—I was followed everywhere I went, and I’m a comedian,” he said of his 2017 trip to Moscow. “I was informed in no uncertain terms that my phone was bugged and my room had cameras in it. So I showered in a blue blazer.”
As for the World Cup memento that Putin presented to Trump during their press conference, Colbert joked, “It’s a nice gift, although I think Putin still has a set of Trump’s balls.”